Milner-Skudder out for Saturday

There'll be no Super Rugby for Nehe Milner-Skudder on Saturday

Beyond that, there's very little we can tell you about the Hurricanes fullback and the foot he injured in Friday's 26-18 loss to the Chiefs. Milner-Skudder's in a moon boot – but not a bad mood, apparently – and had scans of his foot taken on Monday.

What they revealed remains unclear, though.

"Not a sure update yet, we're still waiting for results," Hurricanes backs coach Jason Holland said on Monday afternoon.

"Obviously he was in a bit of pain the other night and is struggling for this weekend, but we're still waiting for the results."

Struggling for this weekend was quickly clarified as the fullback definitely being unavailable for Saturday's clash with the Highlanders at Westpac Stadium. That's a shame for Milner-Skudder who missed much of last year with a shoulder injury, then round one of this campaign with a hamstring niggle.

"He's disappointed, obviously. But we just had our backs review and Skudz was all energy and contributing. He's pretty lucky in that he's a good character and has a positive frame of mind and all he's thinking about is getting right," said Holland.

Jordie Barrett looms as Milner-Skudder's most-likely replacement for what promises to be an interesting game on Saturday.

The Hurricanes copped a bit of a bloody nose against the Chiefs. Arguably a timely one, after the scant opposition the Sunwolves and Rebels had offered in the first two weeks of the season.

Good teams, whose pride's been hurt, tend to respond well to a tickle up like Friday's and it would be out of character for this incarnation of the Hurricanes to let the Highlanders bully them too.

The Highlanders beat the Blues in Auckland on Saturday, following narrow defeats to the Chiefs and Crusaders. Those results underlined the competitiveness of the New Zealand conference but that's it, according Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd.

We all love to pontificate about what these games mean in the broad scheme of things. One week teams are held up as invincible, the next they're written off as also-rans.

Boyd believes the last round's results revealed very little and neither will this one's.

"It's way too early to sit there and say this is critical," Boyd said.

"Even games like the Highlanders Blues game; people would've been sitting there and going 'gee, if the Highlanders don't win this they're 0-3' but that still wasn't a terminal game. If they win or lose against us it still won't be a definite either way.

"We're disappointed, absolute disappointed about the outcome [of Friday's Chiefs game]. But we're far from slitting our wrists over the fact we got ourselves in a position we didn't want to be in."

Does beating the Blues make the Highlanders more formidable? Would losing at Eden Park have made them pushovers at Westpac Stadium? Boyd's view is that neither of those scenarios is true or relevant.

All he knows is that there's a game on in Wellington this week and both teams will be eager to play well.

"We don't want to lose two games in a row, but I'm sure the Highlanders don't want to be 1-4 either. While it's not critical or terminal or whatever the terminology is, both sides will want to put their best foot forward and get some more championship points."


Photo: Getty Images HAGEN HOPKINS (Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder is chipper, but there's no news on how serious his foot injury is).